By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has reorganised the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), replacing Barr Joy Nunieh with Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, as Acting Managing Director.
The President also increased the number of the committee members from three to five persons, including Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Ag. Executive Director (Projects); Mr Ibanga Bassey Etang, Ag. Executive Director (Finance and Administration); Mrs Caroline Nagbo (Member); and Cecilia Bukola Akintomide, OON, a former Vice President with African Development Bank, (Member).
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, gave no reason for the replacement of the Nunieh with Pondei.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the enlargement of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from three to five.
“The five members of the committee are now: Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, who is the Ag. Managing Director, replacing Barrister Joy Nunieh; Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Ag. Executive Director (Projects); Mr Ibanga Bassey Etang, Ag. Executive Director (Finance and Administration); Mrs Caroline Nagbo (Member); and Cecilia Bukola Akintomide, OON, a former Vice President with African Development Bank, (Member).
“Prof K.D Pondei, the new Ag. Managing Director, is a Professor of Medicine at the Niger Delta University, and former Provost, College of Health Sciences of the institution.
“President Buhari had earlier approved that the Interim Management Committee would be in place till the forensic audit of the NDDC was concluded”, the statement said.
It would be recalled that President Buhari, on January 28, 2019, had stepped down a list of board members for the Commission, which had been earlier screened by the Senate, informing that he wanted to reconstitute the board.
Also, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on October 30, 2019, announced the inauguration of the three-man Interim Management Committee, headed then by Barr Joy Nunieh.
The inauguration of the IMC, compilation of a list for a substantive board, ostensibly ratified by President Buhari, notwithstanding, had generated serious heat across the Niger Delta region then.
The ditched list of board members was topped by Dr Pius Odubu from Edo State as Chairman; Chief Bernard Okumagba from Delta as Managing Director; Engr Otobong Ndem (Akwa-Ibom), Executive Director (Projects); and Maxwell Oko (Bayelsa), Executive Director, Finance and Administration
Stakeholders from different states of the region had accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio, of working to hijack the Commission and retard the development of the region.
However, Akpabio had explained, in several media interviews, that the IMC was President Buhari’s idea and was meant to midwife the forensic audit of the Commission, which he had earlier ordered.